Falun Gong Deaths from Abuse in 2007
The Falun Dafa Information Center has documented the cases of 106 Falun Gong practitioners that died of abuse during 2007, passing away either in police custody or upon release as a result of injuries incurred while in detention.
A complete table of the names and available details surrounding these known cases is enclosed (list). The table was compiled from a variety of sources, including testimony of relatives or friends of the deceased, photographic evidence, and follow-up phone calls made by researchers to the relevant police or prison authorities. In total, since 1999, the Falun Dafa Information Center has documented the cases of 3,124 Falun Gong practitioners, who have died as a result of various forms of persecution, not only from abuse in custody, but also of destitution and other traumas related to the campaign. Nevertheless, due to the secrecy surrounding such cases, the actual death toll is most likely much higher.
In examining the details of the cases from 2007, several patterns emerge:
Deaths occurring shortly after arrest
While most practitioners died following long periods of incarceration, there continue to be cases of adherents being killed within days or even hours of their arrest.
On March 10, 2007, police arrested Ms. Tang Xingyun, 65, from the city of Shenyang in the northeastern province of Liaoning as she distributed printed material about Falun Gong. She died the same day at the police station, reportedly as a result of being shocked simultaneously by eight electric batons.
Mr. Deng Wenyang, a former employee of Shanhaiguan Bridge Factory in Hebei province who was in his thirties, was arrested on September 26, 2007. He was already in weak physical condition following an earlier detention in August, but was nevertheless was sent to Gaoyang RTL camp. He died ten days later, on October 8.
Northeast as deadliest region
Though deaths were documented in 18 of China’s 27 provinces and municipalities, as well as in Inner Mongolia, the deadliest region was by the far northeast of the country. Deaths in the three provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin alone accounted for over 40 of the 106 deaths. This follows trends from previous years and correlates to the popularity of Falun Gong in the region prior to its ban in 1999, due in large part to Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi originating from Jilin’s Changchun City. The following is a breakdown of the deaths by geographical unit:
Heilongjiang – 20; Jilin – 12; Sichuan – 9; Liaoning – 8; Hebei – 8; Shandong – 8; Hunan – 7; Hubei – 5; Beijing – 4; Anhui – 4; Shanxi – 3; Guizhou – 3; Jiangxi – 2; Gansu – 2; Guangdong – 2; Tianjin – 2; Shaanxi – 1; Yunnan – 1; Inner Mongolia – 1; Zhejiang – 1.
Deaths from drug injections administered in labor camps and prisons
In addition to Falun Gong adherents detained in psychiatric hospitals being forcefully administered unnecessary medication, there appears to be a widespread use of drug injections in labor camps and prisons as well. Of the 106 individuals who died in 2007, nine had been injected with unidentified drugs during their detention either in a labor camp or prison. Two more died after being administered nerve-damaging drugs in a hospital. In multiple cases, the injection directly contributed to their early death by causing serious damage to their health, especially to the nervous system. This pattern fits closely with the testimonies of several adherents currently residing outside of China, who report they had been injected with hallucinogenic drugs while detained in a labor camp. The following is one of the eleven injection-related death cases from 2007:
Ms. Chen Guilian, a 57-year-old retired factory worker, was arrested in April 2007 and sentenced to one year of RTL at Baimalong camp in Hunan province. She was reportedly force fed unidentified drugs for a period of three months. Her family succeeded in gaining her release on medical parole in August, when she complained of severe abdominal pain. She died shortly after, on September 26, because of excess abdominal fluids and a high level of toxins in her blood, both apparently a result of the drugs.
Deaths from diseases contracted in detention
Given the positive effect that practicing Falun Gong exercises has on adherents’ health, a number of deaths in 2007 appear to have resulted from either a recurrence of old diseases or contraction of new ones when the individual was denied both the right to practice the exercises and proper medical attention in custody. As such, six adherents died of tuberculosis contracted in prison, five died of cancer and one of a liver disease that had subsided when she began practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Gao Xiuqin from Shandong province was detained at Jinan City First Women’s prison from October 2002 to February 2006. During this time, the arthritis she had suffered from before learning Falun Gong recurred and she became increasingly weak. When she was released in February 2006, it was discovered that she was suffering from late stage breast cancer. She underwent surgery but the cancer had already spread. She died in April 2007.
Mr. Luan Fusheng, 56, was sentenced to eleven years in prison in 2003, which he served at Jinzhong Prison in Shanxi province. He was tortured in detention and his health deteriorated, while the diabetes he had recovered from when he began practicing Falun Gong recurred. He became extremely ill and emaciated, contracting tuberculosis as well. When his family members saw him during a visit to the prison in February 2007, he was unable to speak or walk. The prison repeatedly denied the family’s requests that Luan be released on medical parole. He was released in March 2007 and died within weeks.